Looking for something festive to do with the family this month? There are plenty of New Jersey festivals to keep you busy, including holiday light shows, shopping bazaars (perfect for picking up those last-minute gifts) and historical celebrations. Check out our list of ten awesome festivals taking place in the Garden State this December!
Hugs for Brady Holiday Light Show
Where: DeVry University, 630 Route 1, North Brunswick
When: November 25 to December 30 (Monday-Thursday from 5:00 to 9:00 pm & Friday-Sunday from 4:00 to 10:00 pm)
Price: $12.50-15 for adults, $7.50-10 for children 3-12, free for kids under 3
Details: Attend the only major light show in New Jersey and enjoy a spectacular 20-minute animated light display set to music. This event includes raffles, food trucks, vendors, face painting and more. Proceeds from the event benefit the Hugs for Brady Foundation, a local charity dedicated to helping children with cancer.
More info: Hugs for Brady Holiday Light Show
Christmas Festival at the Morristown Green
Where: The Morristown Green, North Park Place, Morristown
When: November 27 to December 23, hours vary
Price: Free admission
Details: Morristown’s annual holiday celebration kicked off with Santa’s arrival and the lighting of the Green on November 27th. Activities vary from weekend to weekend, so be sure to check the website for each day’s agenda. Featured events include photos with Santa Claus, miniature train rides, ice sculpting demonstrations and gingerbread house making.
Festival of Lights
Where: Cohanzick Zoo, 45 Mayor Aitken Drive, Bridgeton
When: December 1 to 3 from dusk until 8:00 pm
Price: $3 admission
Details: The Bridgeton Department of Recreation’s annual Festival of Lights is a community favorite. Enjoy gorgeously lit holiday decorations, food vendors, crafts, music and train rides. Stroll through the zoo and stop by for a visit with Old Saint Nick.
Where: Main Street, Hackettstown
When: December 2 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm
Price: Free admission
Details: Kick off the holiday season with the 11th annual Hometown Holiday in downtown Hackettstown. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through town and enjoy music from the Colonial Musketeers Junior & Senior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps. Grab a treat at the dining tent and stop by the Holiday Shopping Bazaar for the perfect gift. And don’t miss the Santa Parade, Tree Lighting and Santa Selfie Station!
Where: Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum, 120 West Main Street, Tuckerton
When: December 2 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm, December 3 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and December 4 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Price: $5 admission
Details: Sip on hot mulled sangria and apple cider wine from Laurita Winery as you decorate gingerbread houses, delight in the Festival of Trees or take a holiday horse wagon ride. This annual event features a holiday market, craft fair, food vendors, children’s rides and live entertainment on the grounds of the historic seaport.
Dickens of a Holiday Festival
Where: Various locations throughout Mays Landing
When: December 3 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Price: Free admission, fee for Santa breakfast
Details: Enjoy a pancake breakfast with Santa Claus at the Masonic Lodge in the morning ($8 for adults and $5 for children). Afterwards, head over to Memorial Park, Presbyterian Fellowship Hall or the Atlantic County Library for other activities like kids’ crafts, storytime, a snowball toss, multiple vendors and free Polar Express rides.
More info: Dickens of a Holiday Festival
Winter in the Pines
Where: Historic Batsto Village, 31 Batsto Road, Hammonton
When: December 4 from 12:30 to 4:00 pm
Price: Free admission, fees for certain activities
Details: Stroll through Historic Batsto Village for a holiday celebration of Batsto’s 250th anniversary. Check out the Pitman Original HoBo Band at 1:00 pm or experience a carriage ride through the village. Tour the Batsto Mansion in all its holiday splendor and listen to the Aurora Choir of St. Nicholas Church as they regale visitors with seasonal tunes.
Wildwood’s Family Holiday Celebration
Where: North Wildwood Recreation Center, 900 Central Avenue, North Wildwood
When: December 9 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm & December 10 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Price: Free admission
Details: The 9th annual Wildwood Family Holiday Celebration starts with the parade on Friday night, followed by awards and a tree lighting ceremony. The good times continue at the Holiday Bazaar on Saturday with face painters, holiday shopping, crafts for children, a stocking-making table, holiday movies and much more!
Victorian Holiday Festival
Where: Ocean Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, 45 Pilgrim Pathway, Ocean Grove
When: December 10 & 11, hours vary
Price: Free admission, $30 for tour tickets
Details: Visit historic Ocean Grove for their annual holiday festival. Tour area homes and tents, witness the live nativity pageant, watch the Christmas tree lighting and enjoy Christmas carols in the park. High tea is available at the Lillagaard Hotel on Sunday afternoon–tickets are $40 and include 6 courses and a tour of the hotel.
Where: Various locations in downtown Trenton
When: December 26 to 31, hours vary
Price: Admission fees vary
Details: Commemorate Trenton’s role in the American Revolution with the annual celebration of Patriots Week. Thousands flock to the city for this fun and educational event. Witness battlefield reenactments and enjoy historic walking tours, concerts, lectures and puppet shows. The website will be updated with a detailed schedule soon.